Poland is one of the last of the “new” European Union members delaying its decision to join the common European currency. Another one is the Czech Republic. The Polish people, more than their government, seem overwhelmingly skeptical of the idea, despite the very positive experience of nearby Estonia, where the economy accelerated after the nation joined the common currency in 2011. Still, the European debt crisis and the major dislocations in the euro zone scare a majority of Poles. …read more
A fast, reliable Internet connection is imperative for most small and medium businesses. A new study from Akamai suggests that the Internet is getting faster overall, but just how fast varies from one country to the next—or even between different regions within a country.
Akamai gathers data from customers around the world, and analyzes it through its Intelligent Platform analysis tool to produce the quarterly State of the Internet report. The data from the first quarter of 2013 shows a four percent increase in the average global connection speed.
The news for the United States is mixed. Akamai reports an overall increase of nearly 30 percent for the average Internet connection in the US. However, at an average of 8.6Mbps, the United States still fell from eighth to ninth place overall this quarter. That makes the United States about 40 percent slower than the first place nation—South Korea—and leaves the US behind Latvia and the Czech Republic.
As if slower Internet speeds aren’t bad enough for business customers, US broadband also costs more. A study from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) study on the impact of broadband speed and price on small business found that an average business in a metropolitan area spends $115 per month for Internet access, while an average business in a rural area spend $93 per month. The catch for rural businesses is that they’re getting significantly slower Internet speeds for the money.
The number of fiber Internet subscriptions rose 12.7 percent in the countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Paris-based group said Thursday.
Just under 49 million fiber Internet connections existed across the 34 countries, according to the data. That represented about 15 percent of all fixed Internet lines, but in several nations the percentage of fiber connections is much higher.
Japan and South Korea lead the pack with fiber penetration of over 60 percent. Sweden, Estonia and Slovakia rounded out the top five with penetration in the 30 percent range. The other nations with above average fiber penetration were Norway, Iceland, Slovenia, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Portugal. Hungary was ranked just slightly below the average.
Penetration rates in the remaining countries, which included the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, were all under 10 percent.
Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way that you can quickly understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out. It was translated into English from an article in the Prague newspaper Prager Zeitungon. The Czechs suffered under the Soviet form of socialism and are quite qualified to recognize the Obama form of the same.
“The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgement to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president.”
By Ruth Brown A quick geography lesson: The Chechen Republic is a subject of Russia in southeastern Europe; the Czech Republic is a nation about 2,000 miles away in central Europe. The Czech ambassador to the US has issued a statement explaining the difference after a surprising number of social media users…
Having already lost once and facing a 5-on-3 power-play against, the United States secured their one-goal lead in the third period to hold on for a 4-3 victory against the Czech Republic on Saturday at the Under-18 World Championship in Sochi, Rus…
A number of comments by Americans on social media mistaking the Czech Republic for the country of origin of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects — ethnic Chechen brothers — prompted the Czech ambassador to the United States to act.
In a statement posted on the embassy Web site, Petr Gandalovic said “the Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities — the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation.”
Gandalovic calls it “a most unfortunate misunderstanding,” but some responses on Twitter are less diplomatic.
Mirca Sekerova recommends Americans “open a geography book once in a while…stop blaming our country for this.”
And Petr Manda commented: “Well done, U.S. education system.”
The names of the distinct regions trended on the social network after two suspects in the bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were described by family and law enforcement as “brothers from a Russian region near Chechnya.”
In response, Twitter users made crude “infographics” and shamed misinformed tweets, in an apparent effort to correct the Chechnya-Czech Republic error.
Britain’s biggest retailer, Tesco, wrote down the value of its global operations by $3.5 billion and announced plans to exit the United States, as it sought to rebuild after a year in which profit fell for the first time in two decades.
The group, the world’s third largest retailer after Walmart and Carrefour, said on Wednesday abandoning loss-making Fresh & Easy in the U.S. would mean restructuring and other one-off costs of 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion).
Tesco also wrote down the value of its property in Britain by 804 million pounds, reflecting a decision not to develop more than 100 sites, and its businesses in Poland, the Czech Republic and Turkey by 495 million pounds, to account for a sharp slowdown in demand.
Though Chief Executive Philip Clarke hailed Tesco’s fourth quarter performance in its home market as its best quarterly outcome in three years, it still represented a slowdown in growth since Christmas, despite a year of huge investment.
“I’ve been working for Tesco for nearly 40 years and I can tell you this – it already looks, feels and acts like a different and a better business,” Clarke told reporters.
“We’ve closed the gap in the [U.K.] market, at times we’ve outperformed it,” he said.
Shares in Tesco, up 24 percent over the last three months, were down 3 percent at 1004 GMT, valuing the business at 30 billion pounds.
“Management cannot claim concrete evidence of a U.K. recovery with these numbers,” said Panmure Gordon analyst Philip Dorgan.
“It will take time — retail is detail — but we believe that Tesco is on track and we expect recovery in the U.K. to slowly emerge in FY2014,” he said, adding that Tesco could commence share buybacks in 2015.
Tesco made a statutory pretax profit of 1.96 billion pounds in the year to Feb. 13, down 51.5 percent. It also reported an expected 14.5 percent fall in underlying full-year profit to 3.55 billion pounds, largely reflecting the cost of a 1 billion pounds turnaround plan for its home market, launched after a shock profit warning in January last year.
Earnings were also hit by the impact of the euro zone debt crisis on eastern European markets, restrictions on store opening times in South Korea, and the Fresh & Easy losses.
Fourth quarter sales at British stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, grew 0.5 percent. Though at the top end of analysts’ forecasts it was worse than growth of 1.8 percent recorded in the six weeks to Jan. 5.
Tesco’s fightback plan for Britain, where it makes over 60 percent of revenue and profit, has focused on more staff, refurbished stores, revamped food ranges and price initiatives
With help from the U.S., the Czech Republic has eliminated its stockpile of highly enriched uranium, becoming the 10th country to remove all such material since President Barack Obama began pushing to rid the world of nuclear weapons, the White House said Friday.
The announcement came on the fourth anniversary of a speechObama delivered in the Czech capital of Prague shortly after taking office in 2009. He declared nuclear terrorism the world’s greatest threat and called on other countries to secure their stockpiles of nuclear material.
The United States and its international partners helped remove 68 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, about 150 pounds, from the Czech Republic, said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. The material, enough for two nuclear weapons, was sent by secure transport to Russia to be converted into low-enriched uranium for use in nuclear power reactors, she said.
Unlike highly enriched uranium, low-enriched uranium cannot be used to make a nuclear weapon.
More than 3,000 pounds of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, enough for dozens of nuclear weapons, have been removed since Obama‘s speech in Prague on April 5, 2009, according to the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, an agency of the Department of Energy.
“Today we can say without a doubt that the world is safer from nuclear terrorism than it was four years ago,” said Neile Miller, the agency’s acting administrator.
The hardest part of building an atomic bomb, according to arms control experts, is acquiring the weapons-grade uranium or plutonium needed for the bomb’s explosive core. Locking up or eliminating this material is crucial to preventing nuclear-armed terror.
The U.S. is also working with Uzbekistan, Hungary and Vietnam to remove weapons-grade material from those countries by the end of the year.
In his speech four years ago, Obama called nuclear weapons “the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War.”
“Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be checked, that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction,” he said. “This fatalism is a deadly adversary. For if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.”
Today we can announce that the United States, with the cooperation of our international partners, successfully removed 68 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) – enough material for two nuclear weapons – from the Czech Republic. The HEU was securely transported to Russia, where it will be downblended into low enriched uranium (LEU) for use in nuclear power reactors. Unlike highly enriched uranium, low enriched uranium cannot be used to make a nuclear weapon. With this shipment, the Czech Republic becomes the tenth country from which all HEU has been removed since President Obama announced the international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world.
This achievement comes on the anniversary of President Obama’s remarks in Prague on April 5, 2009, where he stated that nuclear terrorism remains our greatest threat. The President called on the world to act with a sense of purpose and without delay to secure vulnerable nuclear material. The United States and the global community have responded with an unprecedented effort that has secured thousands of kilograms of HEU and plutonium, enough for dozens of nuclear weapons.
The removal of highly enriched uranium from the Czech Republic was the culmination of a multi-year effort by the United States’ National Nuclear Security Administration, the Czech Republic’s Nuclear Research Institute, Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The United States is grateful to these partners and to the Czech and Russian governments for their outstanding cooperation.
Recent measurements of the rate at which children show DNA changes not seen in their parents — the “mutation rate” — have challenged views about major dates in human evolution.
In particular these measurements have made geneticists think again about key dates in human evolution, like when modern non-Africans split from modern Africans. The recent measurements push back the best estimates of these dates by up to a factor of two. Now, however an international team led by researchers at the University of Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, present results that point again to the more recent dates. The new study is published in Current Biology.
The team, led by Johannes Krause from Tübingen University, was able to reconstruct more than ten mitochondrial genomes (mtDNAs) from modern humans from Eurasia that span 40,000 years of prehistory. The samples include some of the oldest modern human fossils from Europe such as the triple burial from Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic, as well as the oldest modern human skeletons found in Germany from the site of Oberkassel close to Bonn….
The 24 chosen C.O.R.E. structures hail from nine countries including Netherlands, Czech Republic and Lithuania, with 16 of the wooden pieces coming from the US. The wooden sculptures, which cannot exceed 20 ft by 20 ft, are erected around the illustrious Burning Man himself, a giant wooden effigy who ignites during the final days of the event.
Acquisition of Property Management Specialist Expands CBRE’s Capabilities in Central Europe
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)– CBRE Group, Inc. (NYS: CBG) , a leading global commercial real estate services and investment firms, today announced the acquisition of IMPACT-CORTI a.s., a firm specialising in property management in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
With six million sq ft (557,000 sq m) under management across 140 assets and current annual revenue of approximately $10 million, IMPACT-CORTI is the leading property manager in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The company is particularly known for its expertise in the office sector but also has a portfolio of residential and industrial assets under management. In addition, IMPACT-CORTI provides project management, investment, and leasing and consultancy expertise to its institutional and private-investor clients, such as Deka, Axa REIM, Pramerica and Hampshire Investments. In the Czech capital of Prague, IMPACT-CORTI manages notable buildings including The GEMINI Business Center, LIGHTHOUSE Waterfront Towers and the Burzovni Palac, the home of the Prague Stock Exchange.
IMPACT-CORTI’s team of 160 professionals will join CBRE‘s well-established Property and Asset Management practice in Europe. In response to client demand, CBRE has particularly focused on the growth of these services in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), underlined by its acquisition of Euro Mall Center Management, a CEE shopping centre management specialist, in mid-2011.
“Providing expert and integrated transactional and real estate management capabilities is becoming increasingly important to our regional and global client base. The acquisition of IMPACT-CORTI complements our existing property management offer and will allow us to further extend this important service across the region to meet growing demand.”
Andreas Ridder, Chairman, Central and Eastern Europe, CBRE, added:
“IMPACT-CORTI is renowned in the Czech Republic for its expert property management and project management practices. By adding their expertise and reach to our own growing capabilities, we are increasing the scope of the services we can provide to clients across the region.”
Jürg Zwahlen, Chairman of the Board, IMPACT-CORTI, commented:
“By joining CBRE, we are creating a huge opportunity for both our clients and our colleagues. As part of one of the most integrated and respected commercial real estate advisory companies in the world, we will be able to better …read more Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance
LONDON — I have recently been evaluating the investment cases for a multitude of FTSE 100 companies.
Although Britain‘s foremost share index has risen 10% so far in 2013, I believe many London-listed stocks still have much further to run, while conversely others seem overdue for a correction. So how do the following five stocks weigh up?
BP The fallout surrounding the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil crisis continues to weigh heavily on industry giant BP . The company has heavily divested assets to cover the cost of the accident, the trial for which is ongoing and which BP expects final compensation to come out at $42 billion.
Although the court case currently hangs wearily over the oil giant, I believe rocketing production should propel earnings higher over the longer term. Output is set to surge higher from this year onwards at BP‘s major new projects, while maintenance-related closures at its other installations are set to slow considerably.
City analysts expect earnings per share to rise 39% in 2013 before leaping 8% in 2014. The oil leviathan currently trades on P/E ratios of 7.9 and 7.3 for this year and next, and whose excellent value for money is underlined by price/earnings to growth (PEG) projections of 0.2 and 0.9 for the same two years.
As well, BP‘s dividends are expected to remain well above the average 3.5% yield for the FTSE 100 — yields of 5.1% and 5.3% are anticipated in 2013 and 2014 correspondingly.
Centrica I reckon Centrica is an excellent pick for income investors looking for consistent dividend growth. The energy provider boasts a progressive payout policy, and City analysts expect a 16.4 pence per share dividend to rise to 17.4 pence and 18.3 pence per share during 2013 and 2014 correspondingly.
Yields of 4.9% this year and 5.2% in 2014 are projected, and although coverage of just 1.6 times is predicted, Centrica’s position in the ultra-defensive utilities sector should protect shareholder payments.
Group revenues increased 5% last year to £24 billion, which pushed total adjusted operating profit 14% higher to £2.7 billion. Despite the ongoing furor over last October’s decision to hike household energy prices, the firm remains highly resilient and continues to add new custom.
Earnings per share are forecast to rise 2% and 8% in 2013 and 2014 respectively. And I fully expect earnings to speed up thereafter, as rising strength within the British Gas subsidiary, combined with a drive to build the group’s upstream oil businesses both in Europe and the U.S., delivers improving investor returns.
Evraz Enduring weakness in the steel price, allied to the potential for further large production closures, makes Evraz a risky selection in my opinion.
Group crude steel production fell 5% to 16 million tonnes in 2012, the company said in January, as the impact of a vast modernization program — combined with the closure of a facility in the Czech Republic — pushed output lower. Evraz expects production to improve this year as its upgrade scheme nears completion, however.
DFC Global Corp. to Present at the 25thAnnual ROTH Conference
BERWYN, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– DFC Global Corp. (NAS: DLLR) , a leading international diversified financial services company serving primarily unbanked and under-banked consumers for over 30 years, announced today its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Randy Underwood and its President Ken Schwenke will be presenting at the 25th Annual ROTH Conference on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, California. The presentation will begin at 4:00 PM Eastern Time.
About DFC Global Corp.
DFC Global Corp. is a leading international diversified financial services company serving primarily unbanked and under-banked consumers who, for reasons of convenience and accessibility, purchase some or all of their financial services from the Company rather than from banks and other financial institutions. Through its over 1,400 retail storefront locations and multiple Internet, mobile phone and other remote platforms, the Company provides a variety of consumer financial products and services in nine countries across North America and Europe—the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Spain, Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland. The Company believes that its customers, many of whom receive income on an irregular basis or from multiple employers, are drawn to the range of financial services it offers, the convenience of its products, the multiple ways in which they may conduct business with the Company and its high-quality customer service.
The Company’s products and services, principally its short-term single-payment consumer loans, secured pawn loans, check cashing services and gold buying services, provide customers with immediate access to cash for living expenses or other needs. The Company strives to offer its customers additional high-value ancillary services, including Western Union® money order and money transfer products, foreign currency exchange, reloadable VISA® and MasterCard® prepaid debit cards and electronic tax filing. In addition to its core retail products, the Company also provides fee-based services in the United States to enlisted military personnel applying for loans to purchase new and used vehicles that are funded and serviced under agreements with third-party lenders through the Company’s branded Military Installment Loan and Education Services, or MILES® program.
The Company’s networks of retail locations in the United Kingdom and Canada are the largest of their kind by revenue in each of those countries. The Company believes it is also the largest pawn lender in Europe by loan portfolio. As of December 31, 2012, the Company’s global retail operations consisted of 1,450 retail storefront locations, …read more Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance
By Tim Worstall, Contributor As it happens I’m here in the Czech Republic at present and then I read this story about the proposed mobile spectrum sales. This is an absurd decision: As bidding topped £680m, the Czech regulator pulled the plug on the 4G auction, saying that to continue would risk pushing cripplingly high prices onto the winner’s customers as well as delaying deployments – both to the detriment of the country’s citizens. …read more Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest